"British Film Design" is about the things that you see when you close your eyes and think of British cinema: "Dr. No's Hideaway", the buffet of "Brief Encounter", Vera Drake's parlour, "Hogwarts School"...and a thousand other visions of British films. This book is also about the people who have created those visions. The physical environments of films are made by Production Designers/Art Directors. Their efforts have tended to go unnoticed by cinema audiences. "British Film Design" offers the first comprehensive historical survey of British art direction. It takes a chronological journey through British film design, starting with the efforts of the film 'primitives' of the silent era and ending with the modern day purveyors of part built/part computer generated 'blended design'. Certain themes recur en route. These include British cinema's obsession with realism; the Production Designer's continual struggle for recognition; influence from European artists and the benefits - and perils - of American finance. The book succeeds in expressing the joy of looking at films from inside out; seeing beyond the stars to recognise sets as silent players in the action.
Laurie N. Ede is a Principal Lecturer in Film, Media and Applied Writing at the University of Portsmouth.